Anonymous asked: Many people site the Zohar's prophecies of the industrial evolution and of 9/11 as proof of the divinity of the Torah. Can these prophecies be debunked and if not why don't they prove the divinity of the Torah?
A) Yes, they can be debunked. B) No, they wouldn’t prove the torah anyways.
The main problem with “prophecies” in general (like those of Nostradamus) is that they’re usually quite vague, or simply interpreted loosely.
Industrial Revolution Prophecy:
The Zohar (part I, 117a) interprets along prophetical lines:
In the 600th year of the 6th millennium [1840 CE] the upper gates of wisdom will be opened and also the wellsprings of wisdom below. This will prepare the world for the 7th millennium like a person prepares himself on Friday for Shabbat, as the sun begins to wane. So it will be here. There is a hint about this in the verse “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life …all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Gen. 7:11).
So, in 1840, the “gates of wisdom” and the “wellsprings of wisdom” will be open. That’s nice… but what the hell does it mean? Basically, anything.
If the year put forth was around 1990, rabbis would say it referred to the internet. If it was 1700, then it’d refer to the work of geniuses like Newton. Simply put, it’s vague.
Also, another important point here, is that knowledge grows over time. With some exception of setback (e.g. the dark ages), this is true. There will always be a new insight during every age. Furthermore, it shows another problem with this “prophecy”, which is that the “gates of knowledge” didn’t suddenly open (and certainly not suddenly in the year 1840): knowledge has been building up over time.
(More on this “prophecy” here.)
Zohar / Vilna Gaon 9/11 Prophecy:
And in the sixth day, shall be seen within 25 days of the sixth month (Hebrew month of Elul) and shall gather on the seventh day at the end of 70 days. In the first day it will be seen in one city, and at that day three high places shall fall down in that city. And the Palace of Strength shall fall down. And the ruler of that city (i.e. the angel that is responsible for this city in the upper worlds) shall die…
…One king shall rise, big and ruling in the world, shall rise over all the kings, and shall stimulate battles in 2 directions, and will overcome them. And… the holy land shall tremble(i.e. earthquake) 45 miles away from the place where the Temple used to be. And one cave shall be revealed (bin-Laden’s shelter?) beneath the earth. And from that cave a big fire shall emerge to burn the world (nuclear weapon?). And from that same cave shall emerge a huge superior bird
(plane?) that will rule the whole world, and the kingship will be given to him…- (x)
So, to start, I got this text from the page of someone who seems to support the notion of this “prophecy” but even this person has to include quite a few question marks to even begin to make the pieces fit. In other words, it’s vague.
Firstly, the date it speaks of is actually Sept 13, not Sept 11, but some apologists will simply say that, “hey, what do you know, the famous rabbi, the Vilna Gaon, corrected that! He said the text had an error and meant two days before!” - Ok, let’s just put aside the fact that the text itself had the wrong date and it happens to be that of the thousands (millions?) of rabbis who’ve studied it, that there was one who suggested a different date that happens to work for this interpretation - let’s put that aside, say the Gaon was a semi-prophet too, and just continue…
"Three high places… in that city." A) What is meant by "high places"? It could mean buildings, or people, or gov agencies, or whatever. Vague. B) If we’re gonna say it’s about the buildings, well, only TWO "high places" fell in NYC. The prophecy predicts three in the same city.
"Palace of strength" - What is that? And why doesn’t it seem to have happened?
"Ruler of that city" - Oh, of course, suddenly this part is talking about angels. Or, just maybe, it was simply a prediction which didn’t occur.
"One king to rule them all" - the best shoe-fit I could imagine would be the US, but the US didn’t "rise" and doesn’t seem more powerful now than before. And I’m not even sure we can say we won our wars overseas!
Earthquakes? Giant Fires? Tyrannical birds? Messiah? etc. etc.
In other words, this clearly doesn’t work in the details, and even generally speaking it only works bc the text is vague.